Ok, here’s another thought from this passage of Scripture… from an event in the life of Moses and Joshua dealing with accountability and men. (see also Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6).
After the victory, the Lord instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” (Exodus 17:14)
When the victory is over, many men have the tendency to forget, right? If people want me to do something, I tell them to write it down and give it to me because I am going to forget, count on it. I even ask Kim to send me an e-mail with an important date or event, just so I remember to put it in my Palm Pilot (Yes, I still have such old technology).
God tells Moses exactly what to write: “Write this … as a memorial and recite it.” Where did this shepherd, wanderer and deliverer learn to do all this writing? Moses would have learned writing and record-keeping in Pharaoh’s school of government. Official Hebrew records other than Scripture were also to be kept, and in this case especially for the purpose of remembering the victory of the very first battle in which they fought. God referred to “a book,” so Moses had evidently already begun writing one. This was not, then, the initial entry into what perhaps became known as the “Book of the Wars of the Lord” (Numbers 21:14). Writing it was essential, so the facts could be verified and it did not need to depend upon human memory or just oral tradition.
God also said He was going to blot out the memory of the Amalekites (Exodus 17:14). This is similar to the death sentence (or national extinction) which the Amalekites pronounced on Israel (Psalm 83:4–7). The sentence was partially realized in Saul’s and David’s day (1 Samuel 15:1–9 and 2 Samuel 1:1; 8:11, 12), after which the Amalekites are scarcely mentioned again.
However, due to Saul’s disobedience in sparing Agag, the Amalekite king and some of his people (1 Samuel 15:7, 8, 9), he lost his throne (1 Samuel 15:23). The prophet Samuel killed Agag (1 Samuel 15:33), but some Amalekites remained to return a few years later to raid Israel’s southern territory, even capturing David’s family (1 Samuel 30:1–5). David killed all but 400 (1 Samuel 30:16, 17) who escaped. Fast forward a couple hundred years, and it was a descendant of Agag, the wicked Haman, who tried to exterminate the Jews later in Esther’s day (Esther 3:1, 6).
My point in writing all this? First, write down your victories. In the midst of defeat after defeat in our spiritual lives (or relationships), it is so important to remember the times that God came through and allowed us to experience victory. If we don’t write them down, we are not going to remember them. We can even use these victories to trash-talk the enemy when he’s trying to bring us down.
Next, God tells Moses to “recite” the stories. It is a great thing to brag on God’s provision, protection and promises… just to tell others about His faithfulness. As believers, we have a story to tell of how God brought into our lives a victory over sin and death. The fancy church word is that we have a testimony. Let’s tell of his wonderful deeds, so that the world may know who He is and what He has done (1 John 5:13, 1 Chronicles 16:24, Psalm 96:3, Exodus 10:2, 31:13, Joshua 4:24, 1 Kings 8:60, Isaiah 37:20).
Third, Moses was to recite these stories to Joshua, the next generation. I read that any civilization is only 2.5 generations from extinction if they do not remember the stories of who they are or how they got to where they are. It goes for Christianity, too. Pass on the stories so the next generation will know about our exceptional God.
Fourth, just as Saul did not do as he was told, and spared the life of Agag the Amalekites king (1 Samuel 15:9), don’t ever allow the enemy to have a foothold in some area of your life, only to have that vice come back and attack you at some later point in your life. As Barney Fife used to say, “Nip it. Nip it in the bud. It’s time to do a little bud-nipping.”
Finally, just as the Amalekites were to be blotted out, it did not happen right away. The same familiar enemy will continue to attack you until the time God completes His work in your life. Don’t expect to live a life free of the enemy relentlessly pursuing you. When this enemy gets hold of you, it brings only death and destruction; so be on your guard at all times. He jumps out of nowhere to cause a lot of harm (Numbers 14:45). But there will come a day when the enemy has no power over you in these areas in your life. Remember, there may be only a single family member that makes it through to cause so much grief, as in Esther’s day (Esther 3:1, 6). Be on your guard.
The best part of Men of Steel is that we don’t go through this life alone. There is safety in numbers and wisdom in many counselors (Proverbs 13:10, 15:22). Have a great week.